Archive for the ‘East County’ Category

Grand opening of interim housing center for homeless Contra Costa residents in Pittsburg Monday

Friday, December 3rd, 2021

Gov Newsom speaks at Motel 6 in Pittsburg to announce the state’s new Homekey program on Tuesday, June 30, 2020. Herald file photo.

Former Motel 6 site renamed Delta Landing; it’s been closed for renovations during which residents were relocated; year-long program has waitlist; already serving about 40 Antioch residents; Antioch subcommittee’s proposal to spend $300K might not help 15 more unhoused residents

The former Motel 6 in Pittsburg is now the site for the County’s Delta Landing transitional housing program. Photo by Motel 6.

By Allen Payton

Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) will host a grand opening ceremony for Delta Landing, a 172-unit interim housing site that will provide shelter and on-site services to help county residents experiencing homelessness to regain housing. It’s located at the former Motel 6 which was purchased by the county, last year. (See related article)

Delta Landing is one of the first projects completed with funding from California’s Homekey Program, which allowed Contra Costa County to purchase, renovate and transform a motel into interim housing.

The site was previously used to house homeless residents during the pandemic through the state’s Project Roomkey. But the former motel has been undergoing renovations during which the residents were relocated according to Supervisor Federal Glover. “We didn’t put them back on the street,” he said. “We will have a grand opening next Monday.”

Glover didn’t know when residents would move in but added, “That will be shared during the event.”

The event will be held from 12 to 1 p.m. Monday, Dec. 6, 2021 at 2101 Loveridge Road in Pittsburg. The event begins in the central courtyard.

Google Map of Motel 6 from ParcelQuest Lite.

The event will begin with prepared comments followed by a question-and-answer session for news media and guided site tours including rooms, the site’s new wellness center and other features.

It will help Contra Costa County to address critical need for more services for residents experiencing homelessness in the eastern part of the county. The most recent point-in-time count showed about 500 East County residents may be without shelter on any given night. Prior to Delta Landing, there were only 20 shelter beds available east of Concord in Contra Costa County.

Antioch Subcommittee’s Proposal to Spend $300,000 Might Not Help 15 More Unhoused Residents

On Tuesday, Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe announced that he and District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica, as members of the city council’s Unhoused Residents Ad Hoc Committee, proposed spending $300,000 to help get 15 homeless residents into the Delta Landing program. (See related article)

Asked about the proposal, Glover said, “we’re already serving Antioch residents” and estimated that figure to be about 40 people. “We welcome partners who want to contribute financially to support the program. We had enough money from the state to purchase the motel, and the County has budgeted some funds for the ongoing costs. But we’ll be applying for grants and looking for others to contribute.”

He also said there’s a wait list for rooms and shared they “expect residents to be there for about a year. But hopefully some can move on, sooner. It depends on each individual.”

The $300,000 proposed by the Antioch council’s subcommittee would be used to pay for current program costs and may not result in helping 15 more unhoused residents from living on the streets.

Questions were sent to Thorpe and Barbanica, asking if they were aware of how the $300,000 funds would be spent by the county and if the funds could instead be spent to ensure 15 additional unhoused Antioch residents would be helped off the street by using voucher at the Executive Inn on E. 18th Street or other motels in the city. They were also asked how soon the Antioch program would begin now that the Planning Commission has voted to recommend approval of the Transitional Housing Overlay District for the Executive Inn.

Please check back later for any updates to this report.

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Los Vaqueros Reservoir Joint Powers Authority formed for capacity expansion of 275%

Thursday, October 7th, 2021

Los Vaqueros Reservoir JPA partners. Source: CCWD

It will be pretty dam big!

By Jennifer Allen, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa Water District

Los Vaqueros Reservoir. Photo by Aerial Photographer Dick Jones courtesy of CCWater.com

Brentwood – The Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion Project (Project) passed a significant milestone today, Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021, in officially filing agreements needed to form a Joint Powers Authority. This important milestone puts a group of Local Agency Partners one step closer to Project implementation.

Los Vaqueros Reservoir is an off-stream reservoir that was originally built by Contra Costa Water District (CCWD) in 1998. The original reservoir capacity was 100,000 acre-feet and in 2012, CCWD completed the first phase of expansion to hold 160,000 acre-feet.

Expanding Los Vaqueros to a new capacity of 275,000 acre-feet and adding new conveyance facilities will provide environmental, water supply reliability, operational flexibility, water quality and recreational benefits. Those benefits earned the expansion $470 million of the $2.7 billion in water storage investments approved by voters when Proposition 1 passed. The remainder of the project costs will be covered by federal and local partners.

Transforming a local reservoir into a regional facility requires partnerships. Agencies in the Bay Area and Central Valley, serving urban areas, agricultural land and wildlife refuges, have come together to move this expansion forward. A critical step in forming this partnership is the creation of the Los Vaqueros Reservoir Joint Powers Authority (JPA).

“Contra Costa Water District looks forward to working with all of the partners on the JPA in making financing, construction, and operations decisions for the expansion,” said Lisa Borba, CCWD Board President. “As the owner and operator of the system, we know the valuable benefits that Los Vaqueros continues to provide our customers and growing those benefits for a larger region is a smart investment for future generations.”

The JPA establishes the governance of the Project among the partnering agencies and provides the organizational framework for Project design, construction, operation, maintenance and funding. JPA members will bring perspectives from the agency or agencies they represent and work collaboratively to meet the needs of all agencies involved. The JPA will hold its first official public meeting in mid-November.

“The Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion is not only important for EBMUD, but for the Bay Area and the region as a whole,” said John Coleman, EBMUD Ward 2 Director and Los Vaqueros JPA Board Member. “Along with efforts such as water conservation, water recycling, and supplemental supplies, EBMUD will continue to support mutually-beneficial regional reliability efforts to prepare for an uncertain future.”

Looking forward, the Project team is continuing work to secure the necessary permits, approvals and agreements to begin construction. At this point, construction is scheduled to begin in the winter of 2023.

More information about the JPA is available at www.losvaquerosjpa.com.

OTHER JPA PARTNER STATEMENTS

Zone 7 – Tri-Valley

“For the Zone 7 Board, participation in this project represents a lesson learned from the last drought. Our constituents were clear that they wanted the Agency to pursue additional local storage and this is a key step towards fulfilling that request,” noted Angela Ramirez Holmes, Zone 7 Board President. “In addition to local storage, this regional partnership also has the benefit of emergency conveyance which is critical for when there are pumping restrictions in the Delta preventing Zone 7 from accessing State Water Project water. This alternative conveyance will increase the Tri-Valley water system’s reliability.”

Alameda County Water District

“The current drought is a stark reminder of the importance of reliable water storage, and Alameda County Water District is proud of our partnership with Contra Costa Water District and other Bay Area and regional stakeholders on this multi-benefit project,” said Aziz Akbari, ACWD Board President.  “ACWD’s participation in the JPA is another example of interagency coordination for the benefit of our customers and our region as we help guide improvements in long-term water supply reliability along with wildlife and environmental benefits as California works to combat climate change.”

Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency 

“The Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency (BAWSCA) is pleased to see continued progress in the Los Vaqueros Expansion Project, including this most recent milestone of the JPA formation,” said Nicole Sandkulla, BAWSCA CEO/General Manager. “The project, when in place, will serve to augment the water supply reliability of the San Francisco Regional Water System (System) during times of drought, helping to address the critical needs of the water users in the BAWSCA region that rely on the System to meet a majority of their water supply needs.”

Grassland Water District

“Grassland Water District is pleased to be involved with the formation of California’s newest water JPA,” said GWD General Manager Ricardo Ortega. “The Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion Project is a bright spot for California’s water future and will provide increasingly important ecosystem water supplies for wildlife refuges.”

San Francisco Public Utilities Commission

“Regional Cooperation is crucial for a resilient and reliable water future for our customers given the stresses that global climate change and shifting regulations put on our water supplies,” said Michael Carlin, Acting General Manager for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. “The SFPUC is committed to working with our partners on regional solutions, such as the Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion Project.”

San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority

“California’s increasingly variable water cycle – including our current devastating drought conditions – continues to reinforce the need to pursue an all of the above approach to increasing water supply reliability for our communities and ecosystems,” said Federico Barajas, Executive Director of the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority. “We know the solutions – increased water storage, improved water conveyance, operations that are responsive to changing conditions – and are pleased to be a partner to advance the next step in making the Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion Project a reality.”

Santa Clara Valley Water District

“Our Board is proactively exploring ways to secure enough water to help all our communities in Santa Clara County weather droughts,” Valley Water Board Chair Tony Estremera said. “Valley Water looks forward to working with our JPA partners on this important project that could improve the reliability of our region’s water supply.”

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All Abilities and Coastal Clean-Up Days at Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley Sept. 17 & 18

Friday, September 10th, 2021

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Pittsburg man arrested for Bay Point homicide Saturday

Monday, August 30th, 2021

By Jimmy Lee, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff

On Saturday, August 28, 2021, at about 10:42 PM, Muir Station Deputy Sheriffs were dispatched to a call of shots fired at the intersection of Willow Pass Road and Bella Vista Avenue in Bay Point. Upon arrival, deputies located a victim suffering from a gunshot wound.

Deputies immediately began providing life-saving measures. The fire department and an ambulance also responded. The victim was later pronounced deceased at the scene. He is identified as 24-year-old Pablo Bretado of Pittsburg.

A suspect was quickly identified by deputies and a description was provided to area law enforcement agencies. The Concord Police Department located the suspect who led police in a pursuit back into Bay Point. The suspect crashed and fled on foot. Concord PD officers, assisted by the California Highway Patrol, found the suspect and took him into custody.

He is identified 28-year-old Antonino Solis of Pittsburg. He was booked into the Martinez Detention Facility for murder and possession of an assault weapon.

The Homicide Unit of the Sheriff’s Office Investigation Division continues to investigate this incident. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office Investigation Division at (925) 313-2600 or through Sheriff’s Office dispatch at (925) 646-2441. For any tips, email: tips@so.cccounty.us or call (866) 846-3592 to leave an anonymous voice message.

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Frazier bill to eliminate Los Medanos Healthcare District passes Assembly on 70-0 vote

Friday, May 14th, 2021

Source: Office of Assemblymember Jim Frazier

Would transfer tax revenue to county, eliminate Antioch Mayor Thorpe’s executive director job

On Monday, May 10, 2021, Assemblymember Jim Frazier’s (D-Fairfield) bill, AB 903, to dissolve the Los Medanos Community Healthcare District, unanimously passed the Assembly floor on a 70-0 vote. The district serves Pittsburg and Bay Point.

AB 903 will require Contra Costa County to be the successor of all rights and responsibilities of the district. AB 903 will also require the county to complete a property tax transfer process to ensure the transfer of the district’s health-related ad valorem property tax revenues to the county in order to operate the Los Medanos Area Health Plan Grant Program.

The Los Medanos Hospital closed in 1994 but the district, covering Pittsburg and Bay Point, has continued to exist, collecting property taxes and using the funds to pay for staff and provide grants to local organizations, direct service programs including a community garden and district sponsored programs including REading ADvantage for early literacy. The district’s 2020-21 Fiscal Year budget projected $1.13 million in tax revenue and $1.3 million in expenses.

“This bill effectively creates hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding for badly needed healthcare services in the region. A lot of this funding comes from the savings on LMCHD’s extremely high administrative expenses, which topped 60% in some years,” said Frazier.

The Contra Costa Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) has approved of the dissolution of the existing healthcare district, and Contra Costa County already serves the communities within district boundaries.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed critical shortfalls in healthcare and health services funding across the state. Communities of color have been especially impacted by the emergency,” said Frazier. “Now more than ever, we have seen the life-changing impacts of devoting every possible dollar to serving those we represent. AB 903 effectively creates hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding for badly needed healthcare services in the region.”

“Comparable programs in the county average at about 15% admin cost, and rather than lose over half the funding to wasteful administrative expenses, AB 903 dedicates those dollars to the community,” Frazier added.

Part of the administrative expenses includes Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe’s executive director position which included an annual salary of $96,000 when he was hired in 2019, plus merit-based salary increases, according to the minutes of the Dec. 16, 2019 LMCHD Board meeting. He is also provided one hour of paid personal leave time for every 30 hours worked. When reached, previously about having his position eliminated if the bill is signed into law, Thorpe said he could find another job.

Previously, LMCHD Board President Patt Young challenged Frazier and his legislation, claiming he doesn’t represent but a portion of the healthcare district and that he is “taking political orders from your top political advisor in an effort to turn our district into a political slush fund for one of your top allies on the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors.” (See related article)

However, Assemblymember Tim Grayson, whose district includes most of the healthcare district, is the Principal couthor of the bill.

The bill requires passage by the State Senate and signing by the governor before it becomes law.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Keller Canyon Mitigation Fund 2021-22 grant cycle opens

Saturday, April 17th, 2021

Amounts from $500 to $10,000 available in Bay Point, Pittsburg and Antioch

The Office of Supervisor Federal Glover is pleased to announce that the 2021–22 grant cycle for the Keller Canyon Mitigation Fund is now open. Grant applications ranging from $500 to $10,000 will be accepted via the online application portal beginning April 29, 2021 at 8:00 AM. Applications for services must fall within one of the broad categories previously approved by the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors:

  • Code Enforcement
  • Community Beautification
  • Community Services
  • Public Safety (Including Public Health)
  • Youth Services

Additionally, services funded by the Keller Canyon Mitigation Fund must be offered in the mitigation area, which includes the unincorporated community of Bay Point, the City of Pittsburg, and the City of Antioch. The target area is divided into a primary area (Bay Point and Pittsburg from its western border to Harbor Street) and a secondary area (Pittsburg from Harbor Street east to the entire City of Antioch). Services may also be provided to organizations outside the mitigation area only when the beneficiaries reside within the mitigation area.

In order to apply for Keller Canyon Mitigation grant funds, organizations must be designated either a 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(6) corporation under the Internal Revenue Code.

MANDATORY BIDDER’S CONFERENCE—THURSDAY, APRIL 29, 2021

To be eligible to apply for Keller Canyon Mitigation funds, nonprofit organizations must have at least one representative attend and remain for its duration a mandatory virtual bidder’s conference on Thursday, April 29 at 9:00 AM. The bidder’s conference is expected to last for approximately 90–120 minutes and will include detailed presentations on the grant process as well as allow for questions and answers. So we may keep a record of attendees, registration for the bidder’s conference is required.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR THE MANDATORY BIDDER’S CONFERENCE

Should you have any questions, please call the District 5 office at 925-608-4200 or send an email to district5@bos.cccounty.us.

 

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Frazier bill to dissolve Los Medanos Community Healthcare District passes committee

Friday, April 16th, 2021

Would eliminate Antioch mayor’s job; Board President challenges Frazier whose district doesn’t include most of the healthcare district

By Serina Hartinger, Media & Communications, Office of Assemblymember Jim Frazier

SACRAMENTO, CA – Today, Friday, April 16, 2021, Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D-Fairfield) passed AB 903 the Assembly Local Government Committee on a unanimous vote of 8-0 to dissolve the Los Medanos Community Healthcare District. The bill will now be sent to the Committee on Appropriations. If it passes there it will head to the floor for a vote by the full Assembly. Should it pass there, it still needs both State Senate approval and the governor’s signature before becoming law.

The Los Medanos Hospital closed in 1994 but the district, covering Pittsburg and Bay Point, has continued to exist, collecting property tax dollars and using the funds to pay for staff and provide grants to local organizations, direct service programs including a community garden and district sponsored programs including REading ADvantage for early literacy. The district’s 2020-21 Fiscal Year budget projects $1.13 million in tax revenue and $1.3 million in expenses.

“As all of you know, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed critical shortfalls in healthcare and health services funding across the state. Communities of color have been especially impacted by the emergency,” said Frazier. “Now more than ever, we have seen the life-changing impacts of devoting every possible dollar to serving those we represent. AB 903 is a district bill that takes strides towards addressing this issue. The bill effectively creates hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding for badly needed healthcare services in the region.”

AB 903 will dissolve the Los Medanos Community Healthcare District and require the County of Contra Costa to be the successor of all rights and responsibilities of the district. AB 903 will also require the county to complete a property tax transfer process to ensure the transfer of the district’s health-related ad valorem property tax revenues to the county in order to operate the Los Medanos Area Health Plan Grant Program.

The Contra Costa Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) has approved of the dissolution of the existing healthcare district, and Contra Costa County already serves the communities within district boundaries.

The bill was co-sponsored by Assemblymember Tim Grayson, (D-Concord).

The Los Medanos Community Healthcare District (LMCHD) was formed in 1948 to operate the Los Medanos Community Hospital. In rural communities, such districts were created to provide for hospitals that otherwise would not exist. LMCHD operated the hospital until 1994 when the hospital closed due to bankruptcy. Since then, LMCHD has not provided any hospital, physician, or emergency medical services. Instead of providing direct services, LMCHD funds third-party agencies that provide health-related programs.

“This bill effectively creates hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding for badly needed healthcare services in the region. A lot of this funding comes from the savings on LMCHD’s extremely high administrative expenses, which topped 60% in some years,” said Frazier. “That is simply unconscionable.”

“Comparable programs in the county average at about 15% admin cost, and a nearby healthcare district runs at a maximum of 20% in admin costs. Rather than lose over half the funding to wasteful administrative expenses, AB 903 dedicates those dollars to the community,” he added.

Some of those administrative expenses include the salary and benefits for Executive Director Lamar Thorpe who is the mayor of Antioch, whose job would be eliminated if the bill becomes law.

UPDATE: In response to efforts to reach him and Board President Patt Young, Thorpe provided the following letter from Young to Frazier.

“Dear Assemblymember Frazier:

On behalf of the Los Medanos Community Healthcare District, I am writing to you in response to your introduction of AB 903.

Given that 98 percent of our healthcare district does not fall within your assembly district, or the fact that you have never attempted to build a relationship with our board or programs, I am quite perplexed as to why you would introduce this legislation without attempting to understand how we serve eastern Contra Costa County.

This letter is not intended to be interpreted as an attempt to appeal to your reason or logic, as we are well aware of the fact that you are taking political orders from your top political advisor in an effort to turn our district into a political slush fund for one of your top allies on the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors.

Let me be clear in stating that, although to you this is simply a political game, to our healthcare district, you are jeopardizing a critical healthcare prevention lifeline for many in our community. From free reading glasses for children to HIV/AIDS prevention efforts, many of the community members we serve participate in our programs because they do not feel that they have their needs met via Contra Costa’s public healthcare system.

Lastly, I have to state for the record that the manner by which you introduced this legislation has been interpreted to be highly disrespectful by both my board and community. I suspect that, if the makeup of our board were more in line with the makeup of the Oakley City Council, you would not have been as disrespectful as you have been to date.

Neither my board, nor my community will stand idly and accept to be treated in any manner less than the respect we deserve.

Sincerely,

Patt Young

President

Los Medanos Community Healthcare District”

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

 

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Glydways completes feasibility study with Eastern Contra Costa cities and Tri Delta Transit to advance micro transit system

Friday, April 9th, 2021

Glydways vehicles and station rendering. Source: Glydways

Could be feeder system to BART from downtowns

The Tri Delta Transit Board of Directors has unanimously approved a resolution to support feasibility study findings regarding a Dynamic Personal Micro Transit (DPMT) system in Eastern Contra Costa County.

As a strong community partner and forward-thinking transit agency, Tri Delta Transit’s decision sets the stage for multiple cities in Eastern Contra Costa County to partner with Glydways to bring an innovative 28-mile, personal micro transit solution to the region through a public-private partnership model.

The feasibility study was conducted by Advanced Mobility Group (AMG) at the request of the Cities of Pittsburg, Antioch, Oakley, and Brentwood, as well as Contra Costa County and the Contra Costa Transportation Authority.  Glydways Feasbility Study TDT BOD 032421

The study focused on a 28-mile DPMT system with 56 boarding locations planned between the Pittsburg/Bay Point BART Station and downtown Brentwood. The system is anticipated to complement existing transportation modes such as Tri Delta Transit bus service, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), and the Amtrak San Joaquins train line, and could deliver connectivity to more than 7 million riders annually.

Draft Glydways Eastern Contra Costa County routing plan. Source: Glydways

With the feasibility study conclusions affirmed by Tri Delta Transit, the findings will also be presented to each city council for the above-mentioned cities in the coming months. The support of Tri Delta Transit’s board for a mobility option that complements existing transit service is significant, since it smooths the path for cities, partners, and stakeholders to consider entering into a project development agreement with Glydways to further plan and fund the potential system.

“We are looking forward to our collaboration with Glydways to deploy this new innovative mobility option in our community that we serve and increase public transportation options,” said Jeanne Krieg, CEO of Tri Delta Transit.

Founded by Mark Seeger in 2016, Glydways is a system of on-demand autonomous vehicles, right-sized to carry passengers to their personalized destinations, privately. These vehicles operate on dedicated roads that are closed off to all other forms of transport. These roads form an interconnected network optimized for mass-transit throughput. Passengers enjoy a direct-to-destination journey with a consistently premium experience.

“At Glydways, we believe that mobility is a basic human right. We believe that access to affordable housing, employment, education, commerce, and healthcare leads to social and economic prosperity—and that the key to the equitable distribution of this prosperity is access to low-cost and ubiquitous mobility for everyone, everywhere,” said Seeger, CEO of Glydways. “In a post-pandemic world where transit budgets and programs face hesitant ridership, mobility systems must be more efficient, passenger-focused, and resilient than ever. For riders, Glydways changes the concept of public transit to a premium passenger experience without the premium cost and frustration of traffic.”

Glydways is currently completing construction on its demonstration facility at GoMentum Station in Concord and anticipates being able to provide product demonstration in Spring 2021. GoMentum Station, in Contra Costa County, was chosen as the site for the first demonstration based on its reputation for advancing innovative mobility options. This initial demonstration will be the first to showcase the full potential of the Glydways system as a more sustainable and affordable mode of mass mobility for everyone.

Based in South San Francisco, Glydways has partnered with numerous Bay Area cities, transportation agencies, technology providers, employers, and experienced international infrastructure firms to bring mass micro transit into the 21st century and provide mobility that improves communities.

Those familiar with the CyberTran system, being developed in Richmond, will recall its leaders obtained unanimous support from the Cities of Oakley, Brentwood and Antioch in 2017 to pursue federal funding for a system from the Antioch-Hillcrest BART station to the Byron Airport. CyberTran is proposed to be the system of choice for the East County extension to BART and the Glydways system would serve as a connector, bringing passengers to the future BART stations. (See related article) (Note: The publisher of the Herald has a financial interest in CyberTran International, Inc.)

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